MaryAnn Holladay the Director of the Utah Women and Education Initiative says we need women to go into those fields. Holladay says there is a real lack of female presence in careers in science, technology engineering, and mathematics.
Holiday says, right now in Utah, 12% of graduate women are completing degrees in these fields. “We have very low numbers right now. And those numbers have to increase. Both so women get into higher paying jobs, but also so our employers have adequate employers in our workforce.”
Holladay tells ABC 4 Utah women need to be encouraged early on in their life to pursue a higher education in the stem field and that they can achieve any career they set their mind to. “From a young age girls are led to believe they can't be good at math or science. Those are fields that boys excel in and their not for girls and we need to change that mind set and that starts with influence of girls parents teachers counselors and religious leaders” says Holladay.
Megan Miller a senior majoring in business marketing at the University of Utah says she was initially interested in science and engineering, but was unaware of the type of programs she could have pursued going into college. She also says she thinks there are undertones as to who is pushed into those areas. "I think there are different undertones or even if you look at whose in the work force it's a lot of more men and even what they look like is an expected thing. So, I think there is a division in the genders for that, says Miller.”
Legislators recently approved a $10 million launch initiative that will include the creation of a STEM action center to support both education and careers for men and women interested in science technology engineering and mathematics.